US, Iran Hold Highest-Level Meeting Since 1977

Israel not pleased by UN gathering
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2013 7:30 AM CDT
US, Iran Hold Highest-Level Meeting Since 1977
John Kerry, left, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attend a meeting of the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany, Sept. 26, 2013.   (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif yesterday sat down with the top diplomats from all the permanent UN Security Council countries, plus Germany—including John Kerry. That made the hour-long meeting the highest-level US-Iranian talks in 36 years, dating back to before the Islamic Revolution, the Wall Street Journal observes. Kerry emerged sounding optimistic, saying Zarif's presentation was "very different in tone and very different in vision" than that of his predecessors. Zarif, for his part, called the meeting "very substantive, businesslike."

Both sides agreed to more in-depth talks Oct. 15 and 16 in Geneva. Zarif said he'd like to "agree to the parameters of the endgame for Iran's nuclear program in one year." But one potential sticking point is already emerging: Israel. At a disarmament meeting yesterday, Rouhani raised Iran's persistent demand that Israel sign the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Israel, meanwhile, made clear that it disapproves of the entire diplomatic push. "The rhetoric is different," one Israeli minister said. "But the substance is almost the same." (More Iran stories.)

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